Interview: Jessie Ennis, Imani Hakim, and Danny Pudi of Apple TV’s Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Apple TV’s newest comedy series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet debuted not too long ago and it follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. Co-created by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz, Mythic Quest has a strong cast and of the cast, I got the chance to interview Jessie Ennis, Imani Hakim, and Danny Pudi as they given me the details on their roles in this exclusive interview as you can check out the key highlights below.

Jessie on the limits of her character “Jo.”

Jessie: There is a lot of times where they wanted me to explode, like we see in the pilot when I say “you’re a dick.” I remember being like “Is that funny” (laughs). And then it was really surprising at the screening to hear people laugh for that cause. I mean, I just I kept thinking this is too big, but it was such a blast to get to do. But no, Rob [McElenney] was really the one turning it up to eleven when it came to how much my character can say.”

Danny on playing as a villian.

Danny: “I’ve always wanted to be a villain. Like ever since I saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that bishop was like my inspiration on playing a villian. It was so it was awesome. It was a great time. I get a chance to explore something different. I always dreamed I’d get to work with Murray F. Abraham. I never thought I would be in that capacity. But yeah, in terms of the show, it’s been fun to just bounce around. The cast is incredible and to play a character that there’s just tension with him and the creators. It’s a lot. It’s great for comedy and fun for me.”

You each have these super strong characters, and they are what they are. If you want to pick a celebrity to play your character, who would you pick?

Jessie: I’m not letting anyone take this for me. I’ve got my teeth sunk into it (laughs) and it’s my favorite thing to do so I would not share it.

Imani: “I would chose the mother of my character for this question. I think I would say Jada Pinkett Smith. She would be a fun Mother to Dana. I’m attached to my character Dana too.”

Danny: I would say my real life uncle. I think he’d be really fun in my role as a celebrity. And Helena Bonham Carter would be a great second choice.”

What surprises or challenges come your way when all of you started your scenes for the show?

Danny: “For me, I hadn’t worked with Rob. I’d worked with Megan on Communities so I was really excited to work with her again. I think she’s incredibly talented, but I didn’t know Rob at the time yet. It feels like friends making a show together. And I think there’s a similarity there to how we created the show. Every scene was us coming together, building something together, collaborating, improvising, adding things. Rob would suggest something and add build a new thing in the scene. So there were multiple writers and actors in the show. And so that was a different perspective for me, a chance to work with people who are in the process of creating the show in the writers room. But also on set and in the scene. And that was really unique and I think it brought a different element to the show.”

Imani: “I saw surprises. I think that as an actor, you just hope that you get to go to work and get along with your cast mates and the people that you work with. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this dynamic just works so very, very well. I look forward to going to work even on the days where I’m off and they’ve created such as safe space and like Danny said, is a very collaborative effort where we get to pitch in and chime in and have fun and freedom to improvise and to have to create our own voices for our characters.”

Jessie: “I’ve been lucky enough to come and visit the writers room for season two, and I’ve learned so much from Megan Ganz about breaking story and the structure of an episode. So that’s really the thing I feel is the newest to me. And it’s really inspiring to watch how our writers collaborate.”

It’s really fun to watch the clash of art and tech and business in these wonderful personalities inhabited the whole gaming culture. So I was just wondering if you could each talk about like your role in that. 

Imani: “I didn’t know much about the world, but it’s really cool to play someone who portrays the one that’s very passionate about the world where she just loves nothing more than gaming. She plays all day at work. It’s literally her job. And then she goes home and she plays Mythic Quest. So it’s really cool to portray her well like that and also work with Ashley. But she was very much in the world of gaming and Ubisoft being very hands on and on set with Jason and Danielle. So I’m learning a lot. Being able to pick their brains. And if we have any questions that pop up like they actually track our eyeballs, that is a fun fact that I learned on set.”

Jessie: “I didn’t know much, but I was really lucky to work with Jason and Danielle from Ubisoft. I was curious if there was a Joe in their offices and was shocked to hear that there were people like that and unapologetically trying to get as much power as possible. Women who love having an ego and enjoy following their dreams. And I was just really thrilled to get to bring that to light.”

Danny: “I love videogames. I would play Zelda and I want to live in that world. You know, I wish I could just sit there and live in Hyrule. But I didn’t know how much went into the creation of videogames. And for my character, I play the head of monetization. I didn’t know anything about that. I also didn’t know about the tension of micro-transactions and Lootcrates and how that brings up a visceral response. And so that was kind of new and interesting for me to learn. I actually met with the head of monetization. He was always great about letting me talk and ask questions about how that works. And especially for Brad is a fun character to play because I get to operate as the sort of silo where I’m walking around bouncing off people. But there is this tension between creative and business. But ultimately, we have to work together to build this product, you know. And now I know how important it is because my son will pick up my phone and be like, ‘can I get this new skin for $4.99 dad?’ most times now.”

How did you all react when you first seen the trailer at E3 2019 since this was the first time that a television show trailer was shown at E3?

Imani: “Well we’ve been sitting on this project for over a year now. So now we’re moving into the space where it’s being released into the world. So it’s super exciting for us because we’ve been out having to keep a secret for so long and not being able to talk about this wonderful project that we got to be a part of. So now now that we get to talk about it openly, it’s it’s it’s super thrilling.”

Danny: “it was awesome to see and we didn’t get to see a lot of it before E3 2019. And this is a new experience for me to be on a streaming service where everything comes out at once. And so all the trailers and everything, it’s been it’s been a little while. So it’s like new for us to see it. We didn’t get to see a lot of the VFX, all the stuff that Ubisoft’s doing too. So we loved that it premiered on the biggest gaming convention of the world last year and that it was viewed by the millions that were in attendance.”

Imani on the toxic side of the video game community and Dana’s obsticles

Imani: “I think we do a really great job at touching on how the obstacles that comes with being a woman and gaining territory only way. So for Dana, she’s it very much in love with gaming. And as she finally lands something that she sees herself excelling in the streaming world. And then for that to be taken away, and and people calling her out and saying that she’s big and she’s not a true gamer when that’s all she wants to do. And it’s really cool that we get to highlight that. And I think it will follow Dana because she’s in her early 20’s and she’s trying to figure out exactly where her footing is in the company. And she’s going to try new things and she’s going to fail and she’s going to try to fit this. So that’s was really fun. Like with Danning saying it’s a story about the characters that happens to be in this video gaming world.”

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